To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order, in addition to earning rewards points by using the Capital Teas mobile app.
Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours
before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of
their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or
that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as
Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.
Jimmy Traettino has worked at Positano Restaurant since his parents opened it in 1977. Now the owner, Jimmy proudly runs the family operation. "When you have a family business, it?s literally like your home. So you treat people when they come in like they?re entering your house," he told Bethesda Now.
A Glimpse at the Menu
The restaurant's entrees include traditional pasta dishes as well as more elaborate meals, such as stuffed potato dumplings pomodoro, filled with ricotta cheese and spinach, and served housemade tomato sauce. Diners conclude their meals with espresso-infused tiramisu, lemon cheesecake, and other desserts crafted in house.
A Look Inside
With stucco walls featuring vivid landscape murals, and gleaming terra-cotta tile floors, The eatery also offers diners a charming ambience usually reserved for Venetian trattorias. The interior's gleaming terra-cotta tile floors complement its stucco walls, which feature vivid murals of the Italian coast. This aesthetic extends to the ivy-covered patio, which Bethesda Magazine called "one of the most beautiful in the county."
In the dead of night in 1976, the Abi-Najm family boarded a cargo ship bringing only what they could carry; an escape from Civil War in Lebanon called for a quick getaway. They traveled across the ocean to safety in Arlington, Virginia, where they were able to open a small cafe in 1979. To save money, they changed the eatery?s name from ?Athenian Taverna? to ?Lebanese Taverna? so that they only had to update one word on the eatery?s marquee.
From these modest beginnings grew a series of eateries that today comprises of six cafes and four quick-service caf?s, all still operated by the Abi-Najm clan. One look at the menu explains the success: chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, lamb tartare?all Lebanese staples that helped the restaurant earn a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's list of 25 Iconic Eats. There's even kibbeh, or stuffed meatballs, which blend ground beef, lamb, almonds, and pine nuts into fried spheres suitable for felling miniature bowling pins on top of the table before entrees arrive. The decor is as striking as the cuisine; inside the Bethesda location, light filters through the colored glass lanterns that decorate the dining room.
BGR The Burger Joint?s burgers start with high-quality ingredients?most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Triple D burger topped with an over easy egg, apple wood smoked bacon, grilled jalapeno and cheddar cheese. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries?from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries?be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
At the age of 13, Domenico Cornacchia was already forming dough into pasta by hand, building manual dexterity that would further his ambitions of becoming a chef. He grew up working in restaurants in northern Italy before moving to the United States, where he opened his own trattoria-style eatery, Assaggi Osteria. The restaurant has been lauded by local publications, such as Viva Tysons and Washingtonian magazine.
Chef Domenico Cornacchia?s authentic menu centers on steaks and seafood, as well as house-made pastas and fresh produce garnered from farmers' markets and Amish farms. Hand-painted plates stand out from golden-yellow walls, which flank dark wood trim and rustic chairs, giving the space the European air of an old-country inn. Though the main room seats as many as 70 guests, the tables leave an arm?s length of space between each other, so that conversations flow freely without crashing into each other or causing sitcom-style confusion. In the outdoor area, lush greenery surrounds tables, ensuring that diners won?t be spotted by roving census workers.